Update Time, Again

Posted by Admissions_Daniel

I had not planned on posting a new blog entry until this Wednesday, but it seems that many of you missed the information I posted a few weeks back on how Early Decision notifications will be posted (It’s Update Time posted November 24, 2010). Just since Friday we’ve received 37 e-mails to the gotojhu@jhu.edu account asking when ED notifications would be released and/or how ED applicants will be notified. So I’ve stepped away from our final admissions committee deliberations to share the following with all 1,330 anxious Early Decision applicants:

Early Decision notifications will be released on Wednesday, December 15.

Here is the plan for how everything will go on Wednesday:

* Class is confirmed: In the morning the Admissions staff will arrive at work and wait for Dean Latting to confirm that the Early Decision class is complete. Dean Latting usually spends the previous evening going over a statistical breakdown of the class and confirming final decisions on the most debated cases.

Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.
Admit packets waiting to be stuffed.

* Decisions are checked: Once the class has been confirmed, the Operations staff, along with assistance from the rest of the Admissions staff, will do one final check of all of our decision letters. Our office is very diligent in checking the right decision letter is going to the right applicants, and have a detailed triple-check process we take seriously.

* Decisions are mailed: Upon the completion of these checks, all admit packets and decision letters (defer and deny) are loaded into mail bins and taken directly to either the main Hopkins Mail Services station located in Mt. Washington, or the downtown Baltimore City Postal Office depending on the time of day. All the mail will enter the postal system by late afternoon on Wednesday, December 15. Admit packets are sent priority mail so they arrive typically within three days. Our decision letters are mailed first-class and can take 4-7 days to arrive. Please note international addresses will always take longer for both types of mail, and due to the holiday season the U.S. Postal Service does not guarantee any of these delivery estimates.

Priority mail envelopes awaiting labels and postage.
Priority mail envelopes awaiting labels and postage.

* Decisions are e-mailed: Sometime after 6:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 15, we will begin sending Early Decision notification e-mails. No decisions will be e-mailed prior to this time, and there is no exact time set when e-mails will begin being sent. Please do not ask for an exact time or how long it will take all the e-mails to be sent, as we cannot provide that information.

It can take up to an hour for all of our decision e-mails to be sent so don’t expect a new message in your in-box right at 6:00 p.m. Have patience. E-mail notifications are released in random order so there is no way to deduce the order that decisions will be released. Decision e-mails are sent only to those who included an active e-mail address with their application. (If an applicant does not receive an e-mail it is because either there was no e-mail provided with the application, the e-mail address provided no longer works, or a data entry error. Unfortunately, we do not re-send e-mails, so in such situations the student must wait for the mail to arrive.) We do not have a system of posting our decisions online or through a portal.

* No phone calls: We will not accept phone calls on Wednesday requesting the release of a decision over the phone. In fact, the office will be closed after decisions have been mailed as the entire Admissions staff will be attending a holiday party. It is our preference to not release decisions over the phone. If an applicant has not received their decision by Friday then he or she may call the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. We will only release the decision to the applicant, a parent or guardian of the applicant, or the applicant’s high school guidance counselor. Decisions will be released only if the identity of the caller can be reasonably assured. Please do not call asking why a certain decision was rendered as admissions committee decisions are confidential and we are unable to discuss the factors behind our decisions.

A scene from last year.
A scene from last year.

As I have been writing about our decision releases for a number of years now, I can always anticipate some of the most frequently asked questions:

Why are e-mails sent after 6:00 p.m.?
The reason we wait to release decision notification e-mails until the evening is we feel that receiving your college admissions decision should be a personal experience that you share with your family. We do not believe students should be receiving this news in the middle of the school day. So we will wait until the majority of our applicants are out of school to send our e-mail notifications. (Yes we understand that this system does not work neatly for international applicants.)

What happens if I do not receive an e-mail decision on Wednesday?
If an applicant does not receive an e-mail there a few things he or she can do:
(1.)Check your SPAM folders.
(2.) Check ANY and all e-mail accounts you have ever used during the college search process. We send the e-mail to the account you listed on your application. However, our database system does track all e-mail accounts that have ever been matched to your record, so on occasion the notification e-mail may be sent to old e-mail address. (So check e-mail addresses that you may have used when registering for the SAT/ACT for example.) 
(3.) Have your parents check their e-mail accounts too. Not sure how that happens, but it has happened in the past. If none of those methods work, then unfortunately the student will need to wait to receive the decision in the mail, or can call on Friday.

Every year some e-mail notifications just don’t work. There are a number reasons for an applicant not receiving an e-mail notification including: no e-mail was provided on the student’s application, the e-mail provided on the application is no longer active, there was a SPAM filter blocking the message, or some error occurred that caused a bounce-back. WE ARE UNABLE TO RE-SEND E-MAILS. Once again, in such situations the applicant must wait. We understand how frustrating that can be, but unfortunately mistakes can happen when processing over thousands of applications.

I applied to the biomedical engineering (BME) program; how will I learn of my decision?
BME decision e-mails will come as a second e-mail to all admitted students who selected BME as their first-choice major. Those notifications will also be sent on Wednesday following the release of all other decisions. Further details about your BME decision will be included in your decision packet/letter.

I was deferred. What does that mean?
Stay tuned. I will post information for deferred applicants a couple of days after the release of decisions.

Regular Decision mail keeps stacking up.
Regular Decision mail keeps stacking up.

I hope you all find his information helpful. Back to committee for me. Check back on Wednesday as I once again live blog ED Notification Day.

8 thoughts on “Update Time, Again

  1. Yeah yeah. No consideration over releasing time on international students’ behalf… See that night hours earlier than your local time… I will receive the decision early in the morning… gosh a bad news can strike me

  2. Re: using EST for the release of decision e-mails:
    Yes, we understand that releasing decision e-mails after 6:00pm EST means that some international students will be receiving their decisions late in the evening or early in the morning. There is nothing we can do about that. We choose EST because that is the time zone the majority of our ED applicants live in. We also do not have a system to send e-mails in different groups throughout the day, and we are not going to ask our IT staff to work a 24-hour day. We send the e-mails as a courtesy and I believe you will appreciate receiving the message over waiting for your decision to arrive in the postal mail.

    @Kyle: I am not going to share any information on Early Decision statistics until decisions are released. I will post statistical information after the fact. The number of admits will not be decided until Dean Latting confirms the class and that will probably not occur until Wednesday morning. Our work is not done yet as I mentioned in the entry above.

  3. Hello Mr. Creasy,
    Thank you for keeping us updated throughout this entire process! Your blog posts/tweets have been really helpful and informative.

    I can’t wait for my decision tomorrow!

  4. Less than 24 hours now! These posts have been very helpful Admissions_Daniel. On behalf of the whole ED applicant pool I thank you for the constant updates. I’ll be refreshing my email inbox constantly starting at 6 pm tomorrow. Hopefully it’s good news!

  5. Thank you Mr Creasy the blogs and especially Hopkins forums answer a lot of questions and the tweets really give a real time picture of what is going on.

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